An Enough Project strategy paper released today, "Stealing an Election in Slow Motion: Time for Real Consequences" says that Sudan’s national elections scheduled for April 2010 will be neither free nor fair absent significant international pressure on the ruling National Congress Party, or NCP, to dramatically change the electoral landscape. The crackdown by the NCP on December 7 and 14 2009, involving the arrests of senior opposition politicians and the use of tear-gas on protestors, is yet another demonstration that the basic requirements of credible elections, including freedom of expression and assembly, have yet to be met. Credible elections in Darfur are impossible given rampant insecurity and attacks on civilians, the absence of a credible peace process, a disputed census, and the displacement of the majority of Darfur’s population; in the South, elections may fan the flames of simmering inter-communal and political tensions.
If nothing changes before April, U.S. taxpayers will have spent nearly $100 million to support the election of an indicted war-criminal and legitimize the iron-fisted rule of one of the world’s most oppressive regimes. In this context, it is time to alter course in bold and specific ways in order to avert what could be the deadliest conflagration in Sudan’s war-torn post-colonial history.
“The U.S. and other donors to the electoral process need to stand up and conclude that the Emperor is as naked as he ever was, and blow the whistle now on this deadly charade,” said John Prendergast, author of the report and Co-Founder of Enough. “A stolen election would be the beginning of the CPA’s end, as the NCP would almost certainly exploit what it would quickly claim was newfound “democratic legitimacy” to prevent southern Sudanese from holding the self-determination referendum scheduled for 2011. If that happens, it would be fanciful to think that anything short of full-scale national war would result.”